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Possible Treatment For Ebola

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the there's-a-pill-for-that dept.

Medicine 157

RedEaredSlider writes "Researchers at the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases have found a class of drugs that could provide treatment for Ebola and Marburg hemorrhagic fever. The new drugs are called 'antisense' compounds, and they allow the immune system to attack the viruses before they can do enough damage to kill the patient. Travis Warren, research scientist at USAMRIID, said while the work is still preliminary -— the drugs have been tested only on primates — the results are so far promising. In the case of Ebola, five of eight monkeys infected with the virus lived, and with Marburg, all survived. The drugs were developed as part of a program to deal with possible bioterrorist threats, in partnership with AVI Biopharma."

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157 comments

Netflix Called (2, Funny)

Some.Net(Guy) (1733146) | more than 2 years ago | (#33375580)

Outbreak rentals just dropped to zero

Re:Netflix Called (0)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 2 years ago | (#33376034)

This just in: Still no cure for Cancer.

Re:Netflix Called (0)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376200)

Well, now we can infect the cancer with flesh-eating bacteria with less worry that it will kill the host.

Just need to tame Ebola like we have Botulism and people can lose that unwanted body weight by having it eaten off.

Re:Netflix Called (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33376772)

A good Capricorn will help them.

Re:Netflix Called (2, Funny)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 3 years ago | (#33377226)

Of course, there's no military applications to curing cancer.

Re:Netflix Called (0)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376256)

Outbreak rentals just dropped to zero

That's alright, I own the tape and DVD. I buy, I don't rent.

Falcon

This Is Great News ... (3, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 2 years ago | (#33375586)

... but how on earth will the people affected by these diseases get these drugs in time once they are sick? We can't even get decent distribution of (somewhat) affordable malaria drugs to the parts of the world that need it. This will be just one more cure for a disease that is defeated by poverty and corruption in parts of the world that can't afford any more of either.

Re:This Is Great News ... (2, Interesting)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#33375746)

Perhaps the priority should be more focused on dealing with corruption and poverty in the first place. For example. The UN will address the symptoms with food and aid, but will never address the problem of dictatorships and warlords that cause this poverty and corruption.

Don't be surprised though. Western civilization has lost its resolve a long time ago. As an American, I really wish the British Empire never dissolved.

Re:This Is Great News ... (4, Insightful)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 2 years ago | (#33375820)

The UN will address the symptoms with food and aid, but will never address the problem of dictatorships and warlords that cause this poverty and corruption.

The U.N. doesn't have any way to deal with dictatorships and warlords, since most of them are members in good standing of the U.N. If you were to expel all the nations with disfunctional governments from the U.N., it would look a lot like NATO (plus Japan and India)...

As an American, I really wish the British Empire never dissolved.

So, basically you wish that the British were still around to do all the things you say rude things about the Americans doing? Or do you somehow imagine that the British ruled their Empire without fighting in third-world hellholes pretty regularly?

Re:This Is Great News ... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#33376070)

Most of those corrupt and poor countries were fine until a little thing called American Foreign Policy was introduced to them and their neighbors.

But you won't read about that on your ipads while you drink your coffee and eat your chocolate at the expense of the rest of the world.

Re:This Is Great News ... (2, Insightful)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376354)

Most of those corrupt and poor countries were fine until a little thing called American Foreign Policy was introduced to them and their neighbors.

That's some funny shit right there.
Misguided and wrong, but funny.

Re:This Is Great News ... (3, Insightful)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376378)

Well, you can blame the US for South & Central America problems sure. Long history of involvement there. But Africa? When were any African Nations "doing just fine" meaning "not suffering from being poor and not having dictators"?

Note: I'm not saying American Forien Policy has always been the best for African nations, but were the countries really ever OK? Go back before we were involved and you run into the Colonial rule. Which ( with the exception of Liberia), was mostly European in nature.

Re:This Is Great News ... (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376646)

The U.N. doesn't have any way to deal with dictatorships and warlords, since most of them are members in good standing of the U.N. If you were to expel all the nations with disfunctional governments from the U.N., it would look a lot like NATO (plus Japan and India)...

Dysfunctional but well meaning governments can be fixed. It's the corrupt governments run for the benefit of the leader and his cronies only that should be expelled if they refuse to change (and they will refuse). When you lie down with dogs you get up with fleas.

Re:This Is Great News ... (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376734)

It's the corrupt governments run for the benefit of the leader and his cronies only that should be expelled if they refuse to change (and they will refuse).

The only way to expel someone from the U.N. is by majority vote of the U.N. General Assembly. Since the majority of the governments in that body fit within the definition of "corrupt governments run for the benefit of the leader and his cronies", it's not terribly likely that your fantasy will come to pass.

The only real solution to the U.N. is to dissolve it and replace it with a new organization, by invitation only.

Unfortunately, the only real way to dissolve the U.N. would be for the USA to withdraw from it (and take with us the majority of the U.N. funding). And that's just not going to happen. C'mon, the USA just joined the UN Council on Human Rights (which we've carefully avoided till now, since letting a bunch of tin-pot dictators lecture us on human rights is a waste of everyone's time) - we're not about to withdraw from the U.N. this side of a Presidential Election, and probably (realistically, certainly) not then.

Unfortunately, there are still a lot of people in the USA and Europe (and Canada, too) who believe in the miraculous powers of the U.N. to solve the world's problems....

Re:This Is Great News ... (1)

brettz9 (969574) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376962)

I hardly see a lot of people believing in the miraculous powers of the U.N., though I do think there is a strong impetus toward people feeling that things should be done in an international rather than go-it-alone way--a sentiment which is rather suitable to a nation priding itself on democracy. Maybe there is some naivete within some in this group, but I don't think even naive people would fail to accept politicians who indicated by their words and proposals, that they did want to work within a more international umbrella, if certain core concerns were met.

It is even possible that with the right incentives and assurances to the rest of the membership that the present-day U.N. could come around to expelling the most egregious violators. Majority decisions of the General Assembly have been found to condemn rights abuses in certain countries, and not merely when it was the U.S. and Israel either, but countries like Iran.

But even if not, threats to leave the U.N. might also be politically viable (even a major windfall) if joined with a middle-road expressed desire to unite with a diversity of truly peace-loving nations and offer more real (but still federated) power to any proposed newly created collective body.

Re:This Is Great News ... (1)

brettz9 (969574) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376840)

The UN will address the symptoms with food and aid, but will never address the problem of dictatorships and warlords that cause this poverty and corruption.

The U.N. doesn't have any way to deal with dictatorships and warlords, since most of them are members in good standing of the U.N. If you were to expel all the nations with disfunctional governments from the U.N., it would look a lot like NATO (plus Japan and India)...

While there is no doubt a continuing and increasing need for regional alliances between countries with a relatively high level of sustainable political development, and while it is a good point that dictatorships having membership in the U.N., no less on bodies like the Human Rights Council, is a serious issue, as with any union of countries wishing to refine its membership, there is still great unrecognized potential in picking a fight you can win: starting with denying membership to the most obvious targets, the most egregious violators, so as to avoid spooking those which may eventually come around with the right incentives.

There is a VAST difference between countries like Iran which systematically and even have a blueprint for violating rights, like how they deny their largest non-Muslim religious and non-political minority, Baha'is access to university education, bulldoze their cemeteries, imprison their leaders, instigate violence even against children, etc., and other countries which may be a bit too heavy-handed with those actively working against them, but which otherwise do not have a proactively rights-abusing agenda.

Restricting membership in the U.N. (which can be done according to Chapter 2 of the U.N. Charter) might be done simultaneously with other reforms which would give incentives to less developed countries to go along with this (and also improve the U.N. in the process), such as phasing out permanent membership in the Security Council, making the General Assembly partially proportional to population and making their resolutions binding, and extending jurisdiction of the hamstrung International Court to actually make judgments in cases where both parties have not agreed to put the case before them.

Re:This Is Great News ... (4, Insightful)

corbettw (214229) | more than 3 years ago | (#33377166)

The UN will address the symptoms with food and aid, but will never address the problem of dictatorships and warlords that cause this poverty and corruption.

That's because the UN was set up to help provide a way to prevent wars between nations. As long as a dictator is only starving his own people, the UN has no reason to get involved. It sucks, but the alternative is to have the UN turn into a one-world government, which could present its own set of challenges.

Re:This Is Great News ... (5, Informative)

camperdave (969942) | more than 2 years ago | (#33375748)

While it may not be practical on the bulk of Ebola patients, there are a number of people who contract the disease and then travel to other countries and spread it. However, this isn't necessarily about Ebola. This is a new class of disease fighting agents: anti-sense drugs. They work by slowing down a virus's reproductive rate to the point where the body's defenses gain the advantage. It could work against influenza strains, SARS, Lassa and Dengue fever, and a host of other viral infections.

Re:This Is Great News ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#33375994)

It almost certainly won't work against the flu. The big problem with RNA interference therapies like this is that viral genomes mutate rapidly. Otherwise we would have had AIDS cured the day after RNAi was published in 1998.

Re:This Is Great News ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33376130)

Uhhh, but if the reproduction is slowed down, then so too is the mechanism for mutation, no? Or, do you mean that there are already too many mutant versions around in the body for you to be able to target enough of them with your tailored RNAi therapy?

Re:This Is Great News ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33376332)

There are too many strains around in the *world*. The medicine isn't made for you specifically.

Re:This Is Great News ... (2, Informative)

TeethWhitener (1625259) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376288)

It almost certainly won't work against the flu. The big problem with RNA interference therapies like this is that viral genomes mutate rapidly. Otherwise we would have had AIDS cured the day after RNAi was published in 1998.

Ahem... [sciencedaily.com]

Turns out getting the government to approve drugs takes time.

Re:This Is Great News ... (1, Insightful)

stonewallred (1465497) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376142)

And how long before every idiot doctor starts prescribing these drugs and cause them to be just as ineffective as the anti_TB drugs are now? TB kills not only the poor in 3rd countries, it has been steadily increasing in the US prison populations and killing prison guards. Not just prisoners, but guards. Who do have health insurance, who do seek and receive treatment and who are still dying. Fuck elbola, it kills very few people every year. A minute number. TB is killing Americans. Let's cure that first.

Re:This Is Great News ... (2, Interesting)

kyriosdelis (1100427) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376348)

Assuming, by their name (anti-sense) that these drugs take advantage of the RNA-interference [wikipedia.org] pathway, the molecules used, short interfering RNA (siRNA) don't need to have a 100% specific match to a messenger RNA (mRNA) in order to silence it. When the match is 100%, then the viral mRNA is cleaved (by means of a complex called RISC), and there is no chance of it translating into protein, whereas non-perfect matches don't result in RNA cleavage, but at the same time still block the enzymes that perform the translation (because the siRNA remain stuck to the viral mRNA). Therefore, small mutations in the virus might not have an effect in the drug's efficiency. It's a win-win situation for us.

Re:This Is Great News ... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33376576)

Assuming like the other reply that these are anti-sense RNA class drugs, it is basically impossible for a virus to become truly immune to the class it self, if you can get them to work then they will be better than antibiotics are for bacteria. They target the RNA of the virus with other RNA, the two bind and are degraded by the cell. While viruses simply lack the capacity to evolve active immunity to these drugs as a class they have been known to suppress parts of the cells defenses, however these types of mechanism are involved in gene regulation as well, it is not like the virus can stop them without killing the cell immediately.

Larger sequence changes will confer immunity, but the difficult part of these drugs is not making them but delivering them. Once you have a method of delivery you can block arbitrary sequences, changing is easy, or you can chose a part of the virus that is particularly essential, derive all possible *functioning* variants of it and use them all at once.

Re:This Is Great News ... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33376848)

Fuck elbola, it kills very few people every year. A minute number. TB is killing Americans. Let's cure that first.

Because the US, as a nation of 300,000,000 people, doesn't have the resources to fight more than one disease at a time?

Re:This Is Great News ... (1)

kanto (1851816) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376522)

They work by slowing down a virus's reproductive rate to the point where the body's defenses gain the advantage.

If something like this could be used against viral videos, I just might start using social media.

Re:This Is Great News ... (1)

wombat1966 (1886522) | more than 3 years ago | (#33377316)

I think you are right. It astonishes me, really that we've made so little progress in fighting viruses. But then, antibiotics were discovered by accident! I wonder if you know why they are called anti-sense drugs? It seems such an odd name- there must be a reason behind it. Pam http://www.nutrition--news.com/ [nutrition--news.com]

Re:This Is Great News ... (3, Interesting)

Enry (630) | more than 2 years ago | (#33375756)

Ebola only occurs in one part of the world unlike malaria, so you could stockpile them with an NGO like WHO to take with them when an outbreak occurs.

Re:This Is Great News ... (3, Informative)

ibsteve2u (1184603) | more than 2 years ago | (#33375930)

You might want to look at the list of known Ebola outbreaks [cdc.gov] before you determine where to site your stockpile.

Re:This Is Great News ... (3, Informative)

Enry (630) | more than 2 years ago | (#33376044)

Ebola-Reston is different than Ebola-Zaire. The Reston strain isn't deadly to humans (so far), so stockpile can be in/near central Africa since that's where most of the Zaire cases were.

Re:This Is Great News ... (1)

macwhizkid (864124) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376322)

Ebola only occurs in one part of the world unlike malaria, so you could stockpile them with an NGO like WHO to take with them when an outbreak occurs.

Slight correction: Ebola originates in one part of the world. Unfortunately, since there's a 7-10 day incubation period, it's too easy for someone to hop on a plane and be in any other corner of the world when they actually fall ill. Lots of the original case studies were like that: people visiting Kitum cave, the monkeys infected in the Reston outbreak near DC, etc.

On the flip side, that does mean the physical location of the stockpile becomes less important when it's possible to get it anywhere in the world in 24 hours. Since Ebola is at least several days between onset and death, a 24 hour delay is tolerable. It's certainly better than supportive care.

Ebola (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376520)

Ebola only occurs in one part of the world unlike malaria

Except that's not true [stanford.edu] . Here's a table of known cases of ebola outbreaks [cdc.gov] published by the CDC. In 1976 there was one in England. In the US the first one was in 1989. Other countries with outbreaks not in Africa is Italy and the Philippines.

Falcon

Re:Ebola (1)

Enry (630) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376586)

I've already addressed that elsewhere. Ebola-Reston is the primary strain that occurs outside Africa yet is not harmful to humans. It's still important to track, but as for a treatment, the other strains like Ebola-Zaire are the concern.

Re:This Is Great News ... (4, Insightful)

Relic of the Future (118669) | more than 2 years ago | (#33375814)

Note: "possible bioterrorist threats"

This isn't meant to help poor third-world countries, or to deal with natural outbreaks. The concerns you express were never part of the project's goals.

(Not saying that's a good thing; just saying that that's what it is.)

Re:This Is Great News ... (2, Interesting)

Enry (630) | more than 2 years ago | (#33375918)

I dunno about that. We really dodged a bullet with the Reston strain. There's no reason it could mutate again and become airborne and lethal.

Re:This Is Great News ... (1)

macwhizkid (864124) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376412)

I dunno about that. We really dodged a bullet with the Reston strain. There's no reason it could mutate again and become airborne and lethal.

Indeed. And Reston may have been airborne, too. The disease managed to spread to every room in the monkey facility, though it's still unclear exactly how (as I recall, at the time the Army was a bit too preoccupied trying to prevent an epidemic to stop and conduct an experiment).

So few people realize just how closely we dodged the bullet with Reston. Two researchers at one point smelled an open test tube of the stuff, the animal handlers in the monkey facility were uninformed and contaminated with it, the company almost didn't let the Army in to contain the building because of publicity concerns. Had it been human-to-human airborne, we may well have been screwed.

Germophobic? Psychosomatic? Don't read this. (4, Informative)

symbolset (646467) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376972)

I do believe that Reston was proven to be airborne by USAMRIID.

Somebody's playing with with the wikipedia ebola Reston page [wikipedia.org] . The page now says that the site of the oubreak was demolished, but has since been rebuilt as a Kindercare. I really seriously doubt this is possible. I would really need video leading from the street signs to the building for this one.

It says a lot that this is an upbeat article about Ebola [wikipedia.org] that delivers the wonderful news: of the immunized monkeys, only three of eight died! This is one nastly little bug. The fatality rate of Ebola Zaire in humans is up to 90%, with an average fatality rate in humans of 83% over 27 years of experience. Nine of ten dead little humans, in three weeks from infection on the outside or two days if you're lucky. Generally speaking that surviving tenth human isn't well off either as the course of infection normally involves a great deal of organ damage. In the case of a group of people who are all infected the likelihood that the one human of ten would receive the care necessary to survive the fever is remote.

If just one person with an Ebola that's as fatal as Ebola Zaire and also airborne gets on a commercial jet flight anywhere in the world - ever - it's pretty much game over for civilization in about a month. 200 passengers and 14 crew infected, connecting flights, layovers, every person in every boarding area for each flight, then home to the family and not feeling well. I don't feel well but I've must-do's so off to work the next day on the train (sniff, sneeze) but I'm not feeling well (hack, cough) so early home, stopping at Safeway for some Theraflu, then Wal-Mart because Safeway was out. Oh, my that's a scary summer flu story on the news but I'm too tired to listen (hack, cough blood, seize, hemmorage out of every orifice, die). By the time the alert is raised the bus drivers on some route near one of those places have outplaced the virus so thoroughly that it's too late to do anything about it. Your only hope is that you're in Madagascar and they have Shut Down Everything [knowyourmeme.com] . The only good news about Ebola Zaire is that it kills so many hosts so quickly that outbreaks tend to be self-limiting. In several cases so many died so quickly that the disease had no time to spread.

The most recent new variant of Ebola virus, Bundibugyo is named after a district in Uganda where it was discovered in 2007. This one is less virulent, only killing 34% of the people infected or probably infected. It scares me more than a little that new variants are being discovered this frequently.

Not that I want anybody to panic or anything...

Re:This Is Great News ... (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 2 years ago | (#33375954)

Note: "possible bioterrorist threats"

This isn't meant to help poor third-world countries, or to deal with natural outbreaks. The concerns you express were never part of the project's goals.

(Not saying that's a good thing; just saying that that's what it is.)

I absolutely hate that your answer true, but you are 100% correct. Damn, what a world it's become.

Re:This Is Great News ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#33375852)

There's no natural immunity developed against malaria, unlike most viral infections. Thus it costs significantly more to protect against it as residents in those areas will need treatment again and again.

Re:This Is Great News ... (2, Informative)

Genda (560240) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376326)

Clearly you don't know what you're talking about... the infectious agent of Malaria is the Plasmodia protozoan (not a virus like Yellow Fever), and there is already a precedent for a two part vaccine program that shows great promise (part 1 is a long term vaccine that provides significant resistance, but not immunity, reinforced by part 2 a short term vaccine that imparts full immunity.) The real issue here is one of economics. The 40% of the human beings on the planet at serious and immediate risk are also the poorest 40% of the human population, and therefore are not in position to inspire immediate and significant response from those companies that make vaccines.

The only real hope for a permanent and lasting solution, is to align first and second world nations in governments in a global effort to eradicate malaria. As long as such a huge reservoir of disease exists, new and vicious mutations will certainly arise, putting global populations at risk of pandemic (exacerbated by global climate change and the growing spread of insect vectors.) Besides the huge humanitarian benefits, there is a more immediate benefit, and it's one of self interest for every citizen of the first and second world. A pandemic, would be a modern plague, resistant to modern drugs, and treatments, and able to kill many millions even billions of people. This should be among our government's top priorities in the new century

Re:This Is Great News ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33377474)

You clearly don't understand what natural immunity means.

A malaria infection does not confer immunity from subsequent infections.

Re:This Is Great News ... (4, Insightful)

TopSpin (753) | more than 2 years ago | (#33375860)

how on earth will the people affected by these diseases get these drugs in time

Don't think like an ambulance driver. If some part of the world is attacked with ebola people will be killed. The response will then be to manufacture and deploy the 'antidote' to the contaminated area and other areas that might also be at risk of attack. Meanwhile the attackers get hunted down, with prejudice, as the saying goes.

one more cure for a disease that is defeated by poverty and corruption

All the good intentions in the world are doomed in the face of corruption, of which poverty is only the most obvious symptom. A solution is not invalid only because it requires more sophistication than can exist in corrupt and impoverished places. When it's your butt on the line you aren't going to walk away from the fix just because the Congolese don't have the option. You will demand it as a right and curse anyone that fails to agree.

Re:This Is Great News ... (3, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#33375898)

They'll have it for "critical personnel," AKA not you or I, and certainly not the people who would actually be encountering ebola.

That said, I don't know much about this antisense treatment, but it seems to be based on oligonucleotides, short DNA sequences. Oligos aren't too expensive, have a long shelf life (for my applications anyway) and when dehydrated can be stored at room temperature for quite a while. If antisense therapy works for a wide variety of viruses, it could make sense for large cities and major international airports to have a "toolkit" of antisense oligos ready to go for a variety of outbreaks, and this wouldn't be too expensive to maintain. If ebola entered the network of airports and large outbreaks started, you could have the therapy right there. Influenza? Same thing.

But with ebola, the time you have is extremely short, and if an outbreak happened in a large city, I doubt anything could be deployed soon enough. And there's no way cities are going to spend the money to keep enough to dose everyone on hand. And that still wouldn't help the populations in Africa who would be exposed first.

By the way, I find it somewhat strange that "terrorism" is mentioned as a reason here. I guess it's possible that terrorists have biological safety cabinets and autoclaves, and certainly it's dangerous to underestimate terror threats, but I'm imagining Osama bin Laden saying "Lets get some of this Ebola." Terrorist lackey number one obtains a jar of infected blood, hands it to Osama without gloves, and two days later they're all bleeding to death from every orifice.

Re:This Is Great News ... (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376732)

"By the way, I find it somewhat strange that "terrorism" is mentioned as a reason here."

I don't. Weaponisation of both agents was a concern many years ago, and mentioned routinely in military NBC training.

Re:This Is Great News ... (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376926)

I should be clear, I can see the hazard, certainly. I am, however, having a hard time picturing the terrorists we're all focusing on right now doing anything more than killing themselves painfully with Ebola.

Were North Korea to get their hands on Ebola, sure, they're crazy enough to use it to wipe the rest of the world out, and there are probably individuals who would be willing and capable of deploying Ebola. I was merely making some gallows humor.

Re:This Is Great News ... (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376792)

By the way, I find it somewhat strange that "terrorism" is mentioned as a reason here. I guess it's possible that terrorists have biological safety cabinets and autoclaves, and certainly it's dangerous to underestimate terror threats, but I'm imagining Osama bin Laden saying "Lets get some of this Ebola." Terrorist lackey number one obtains a jar of infected blood, hands it to Osama without gloves, and two days later they're all bleeding to death from every orifice.

If the terrorists tried to develop biological weapons, we might finally be rid of them. It's unfortunate an uncontrollable number of innocents would go with them, otherwise it might be worth encouraging them to try.

Re:This Is Great News ... (2, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#33375900)

I'm assuming that the developers have no plan for that. Either because they view it as somebody else's problem, or because they just don't care.

The "U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases" isn't exactly the Peace Corps. They probably wouldn't object if the UN or some NGO wanted to buy a bunch of doses for people where hemorrhagic fevers are endemic; this sure isn't being announced like it is some sort of national secret; but I assume that their interest in doing the research is in addressing the contingency of having a 1st world, especially American, population center with the stuff by malice or accident and high speed air travel.

Even there, unless we are planning to stock a lot of doses, it would almost certainly be used to preserve military readiness and civilians deemed to be important. I doubt the PR people would really like to talk about it; but it isn't exactly a gigantic secret that some people would be closer to the top of the list than others in an emergency.

Re:This Is Great News ... (2, Informative)

HomoErectusDied4U (1042552) | more than 2 years ago | (#33375922)

Your point about poverty and corruption defeating cures and treatments is valid, but is perhaps not entirely applicable to Ebola and Marburg. Both of these viruses are zoonoses, that is, they are transmitted to humans from other animals. We do not know for certain which animals are the natural reservoirs of Filoviruses (Ebola and Marburg are the two genera of the Filoviridae), but an incident in the Philippines in 2009 where Ebola infected swine illustrates that cosmopolitan animals (like pigs) can carry the virus. Furthermore, we know that a wide swathe of mammals (from rodents to bats to marsupials) carry 'fossil' Filovirus genetic material in their genomes, meaning that at least their ancestors were carriers of these viruses. Still further, Ebola and Marburg are part of the order Mononegavirales. This order contains the viruses that cause rabies, measles, mumps, and Newcastle disease (a really nasty scourge of domestic and wild birds). It's certainly possible that this treatment, as it undergoes further development, could be applied to related diseases. Sanitation and vaccination rendered rabies, measles, and mumps more or less non-issues in the developed world decades ago, but the current treatment for, say, rabies (if you contract it) is extremely dangerous and not particularly effective.

Re:This Is Great News ... (3, Insightful)

Darth_brooks (180756) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376788)

but an incident in the Philippines in 2009 where Ebola infected swine illustrates that cosmopolitan animals (like pigs) can carry the virus.

Pigs are hardly cosmopolitan animals. In fact, the last pig I encountered was downright boarish.

Re:This Is Great News ... (1)

Redlazer (786403) | more than 2 years ago | (#33376072)

You're probably right - we should just stop looking for answers, and give up.

Re:This Is Great News ... (1)

shoehornjob (1632387) | more than 2 years ago | (#33376076)

Sad but true.. I think they will market this to people who can pay (like the armed forces). They will make some humanitarian gesture but in the end it's not profitable for them to donate their product for humanitarian reasons.

Re:This Is Great News ... (0, Flamebait)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376108)

This [wikipedia.org] , filled with auto-injector [wikipedia.org] flechette [wikipedia.org] rounds.

Re:This Is Great News ... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33376118)

The people who need them will get them. The niggers will do as niggers should, and die.

Re:This Is Great News ... (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376550)

Oh! Did you think it was for them? Nah, they'll make enough for each world leader to have so they can feel important.

Re:This Is Great News ... (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376714)

"This will be just one more cure for a disease that is defeated by poverty and corruption in parts of the world that can't afford any more of either."

Failure is part of the human condition. That doesn't negate advances in medicine, it just means they won't be as available to area where the humans who run things make bad decisions.

Re:This Is Great News ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33377402)

Those evil Americans will show up with soldiers, once again, to keep people alive in spite of their best efforts. Nothing like getting shot at while delivering food and medicine. For reference, I now firmly believe that nuking Mog is a good idea ... a little east of the Ebola threat, but right close to the rift valley fever threat, which is another nasty hemorrhagic fever.

It's appropriate to test on monkeys (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#33375588)

In areas that this vaccine is need, you will probably get the best efficacy.

E-1101 (2, Funny)

camperdave (969942) | more than 2 years ago | (#33375594)

I guess they just pulled some E-1101 [imdb.com] out of the freezer.

Great (2, Funny)

Beardydog (716221) | more than 2 years ago | (#33375664)

Now what am I supposed to wish upon my enemies?

Re:Great (3, Funny)

Pseudonym Authority (1591027) | more than 2 years ago | (#33375806)

You only wished for Ebola? I always go with erectile dysfunction.

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#33375832)

Now what am I supposed to wish upon my enemies?

Wish them to hate no one and love everyone?
Oh, wait, that's how AIDS got started...

Re:Great (2, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#33375850)

Ebola and an anti-ebola shot juuuuuuuust out of reach.

Re:Great (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376754)

"Now what am I supposed to wish upon my enemies?"

Nancy Pelosi, naked and petrified.

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33377004)

"Now what am I supposed to wish upon my enemies?"

Nancy Pelosi, naked and petrified.

Wouldn't it lose effect if nothing sways? Forget petrified, make it out of a firm jello mix, and make them lick it through some twisted scenario.

This is how anti-terrorism funding should be spent (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#33375784)

This, right here, is an example of the correct priorities for anti-terrorism funding.

It's much harder to cure someone who has been blown up by a bomb, I realize that. But, things like this, and harmonizing emergency radio systems, and subsidized first aid, and other sensible measures that should be done anyway but aren't only as a pure factor of economic reality, they are the first things that should be in line for funding that truly saves lives and makes people safer; and they work equally well for terrorism, natural disasters, negligent officials, and plain bad luck (unlike most anti-terrorism programs which look impressive but are essentially military in nature).

Bruce Schneier has said the same thing for about as long. But still you've got sheriffs buying robotic sentry cannons and military research into autonomous robotic assassins. It's only lucky that, like the space program, the benefits do eventually trickle down to private industry and then to the general population. But it could still be better spent in the first place, for more immediate effect.

So, what are the chances of this actually being supplied to "unimportant" people (ie. foreign countries), for fear of bioterrorist chemists engineering resistant strains?

Re:This is how anti-terrorism funding should be sp (4, Insightful)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 2 years ago | (#33375804)

IMO first aid should be a required class beginning in about the 6th grade, right along with household and small business microeconomics.

Re:This is how anti-terrorism funding should be sp (2, Insightful)

cmiller173 (641510) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376158)

Couldn't agree more. In sixth grade I took a 4-part Red Cross first aid course as an after school program.would have been 1977-1978 or so. Planning to find something similar for my daughter next summer weather it's through school or not.

economics (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376638)

IMO first aid should be a required class beginning in about the 6th grade, right along with household and small business microeconomics.

You might be interested in Ariel Community Academy [wikipedia.org] , a school in Chicagoland. In it students, K to 8th grade, are taught to invest [edutopia.org] . Students "in grades K-8 hone math skills and learn practical, lifelong lessons in finance by managing a $20,000 class stock portfolio."

Falcon

Re:This is how anti-terrorism funding should be sp (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#33377022)

In Kansas they'd learn faith healing and Von Mises economics :P

Re:This is how anti-terrorism funding should be sp (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#33377210)

Fully agreed! First aid and some basic survival skills would do more to alleviate the effects of disasters, both natural and man made, than all of the expensive and dubious measures DHS wants to take.

I don't expect people to know how to perform bypass surgery with a push pin and a bottle of whiskey or be able to skin a bear with their teeth, but knowing how to handle sprains, dislocations, broken bones, burns, lacerations etc including improvised antiseptic measures like honey dressings would go a very long way, especially if you add ways to distill water.

It might also help the healthcare crisis if people learn a few common things that do not warrant a trip to the E.R. Apparently it's not as obvious as I always thought it was.

Primates (2, Informative)

markdavis (642305) | more than 2 years ago | (#33375928)

"said while the work is still preliminary - the drugs have been tested only on primates"

Last time I checked, Humans are primates...

Re:Primates (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 2 years ago | (#33376010)

Last time I checked, Humans are primates...

That can't be right. I'm sure I've seen a human lawyer at the zoo.

Re:Primates (2, Insightful)

alanebro (1808492) | more than 2 years ago | (#33376036)

Humans are animals. However, the term "animals" is generally used to describe all animals EXCEPT us. Rinse and repeat for your example.

Re:Primates (1)

markdavis (642305) | more than 3 years ago | (#33377380)

While I know that, note the term "animal" was never used in the summary...

Re:Primates (1)

MokuMokuRyoushi (1701196) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376384)

True though that may be, different species can have wildly different immune responses. And humans are wildly different from monkeys or apes.

Re:Primates (1)

mog007 (677810) | more than 3 years ago | (#33377086)

And humans are wildly different from monkeys or apes.

That's like saying that Texans are wildly different from Americans.

It's a meaningless comparison, because one is a subgroup of the other.

Cue Bush joke in 3.. 2.. 1... (0, Troll)

Leuf (918654) | more than 2 years ago | (#33376054)

"antisense compounds" tested on primates. Too easy.

Bioterrorism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#33376062)

Ebola isn't that bad, from a bioweapons POV. Yeah, it's deadly... but it sucks at infections in the early stages (the first week or two?) I guess it works for "bioterrorism" though, given the high scary rate.

There's a lot nastier stuff out there, which spreads faster and easier... while still being pretty high on the mortality rate.

Re:Bioterrorism (1)

mousse-man (632412) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376174)

A antibiotics-resistant version of Yersinia pestis would be optimal - high killing rate, high infection rate, and the disease spread can only be stopped with drastic measures.

If I were a terrorist, I'd forego using Ebola since this disease kills it's host rather fast. Too fast for a successful spread of the disease.

Re:Bioterrorism (1)

mr100percent (57156) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376884)

Yeah but it's scarier

Re:Bioterrorism (2, Insightful)

AJWM (19027) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376896)

Only pneumonic plague spreads very quickly, the bubonic kind doesn't. But more to the point, anyone descended from European or Middle Eastern ancestry has a pretty solid level of genetic resistance to plague. It's not the killer today that it was in the 14th century, even without antibiotics -- the vulnerable population died out.

So no, Yersinia pestis isn't going to be that effective.

Possible Treatment For Ebola (3, Informative)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376230)

Researchers at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases have found a class of drugs that could provide treatment for Ebola and Marburg hemorrhagic fever.

Is this going to be another example of government spending hundreds of Hundreds Millions of Taxpayer Dollars developing a drug only to give it away exclusively to a pharmaceutical business who can then make billions of dollars on the drug if there's an outbreak? That is exactly what the National Cancer Institute [wikipedia.org] or NCI, part of the US federal government's National Institutes of Health [wikipedia.org] did. The NCI spent more than $484 Million [pdf] [gao.gov] developing and testing Taxol [wikipedia.org] as a breast cancer drug. The NCI then gave Bristol-Myers Squibb, BMS, exclusive rights to its use. What did BMS pay for those rights? BMS paid $35 Million in royalty payments through 2002. BMS had those exclusive rights for more than 10 years. Guess how much BMS sold Taxol for... In 2000 BMS sold $1.6 Billion, earning between $4 and $5 Million [cptech.org] a day.

Falcon

Re:Possible Treatment For Ebola (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 3 years ago | (#33377092)

I'm not sure about this, but I'd consider adding the amount paid directly ($35 million, as you state) to the amount collected in tax revenues from the sales of the drug as well. Not the sales taxes, or the income taxes from the jobs created, but the corporate taxes paid, as they directly relate to those sales. That's a more accurate figure of what BMS gave the government.

Re:Possible Treatment For Ebola (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 3 years ago | (#33377372)

I'm not sure about this, but I'd consider adding the amount paid directly ($35 million, as you state) to the amount collected in tax revenues from the sales of the drug as well. Not the sales taxes, or the income taxes from the jobs created, but the corporate taxes paid, as they directly relate to those sales. That's a more accurate figure of what BMS gave the government.

Those sells were world wide not just in the US, and businesses don't pay income tax on all of that. And what jobs? The jobs at the NCI? They did the research not BMS. All BMS did was research on how to lower its own costs. And manufacturing costs don't count either, as stated before in 2000 BMS made more than a billion dollars in profit. And guess who paid some of that? Taxpayers, Medicare [prospect.org] pays for treatment too.

Falcon

shudder... (1)

pedantic bore (740196) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376240)

For me, the fact that a treatment that gives a 60% survival rate is considered a major breakthrough only underscores the fact that Ebola is terrifyingly dangerous, and it's just a few mutations from being real trouble.

If you enjoy being frightened, give Richard Preston's The Hot Zone [amazon.com] a read.

Re:shudder... (1)

watermark (913726) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376556)

Read it again, it says all of the primates given the drug survived. 5 of the 8 of the control set (no drugs) survived.

Re:shudder... (1)

pedantic bore (740196) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376812)

No; here's what the article says:

In the case of Ebola, five of eight monkeys infected with the virus lived, and with Marburg, all survived.

There is no mention in the article of a control group, although it is mentioned that the mortality rate for both Ebola and Marburg is 60-90%.

Perhaps the article does not make it sufficiently clear that Ebola and Marburg are different, although similar and perhaps related, diseases.

Recommended... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33376508)

...by 5 out of 8 monkeys.

tinfoil hat mode on (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33376538)

or the government manufactured tons of the stuff that cost billions of dollars so now they need to sell it to get some their money back so they infect a huge chunk of the population thus creating a captive audience of customers, = buy this or die. [tinfoil hat mode off]

Where the money is (1)

KingAlanI (1270538) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376620)

Military is where the money is, where the magically-cuts-through-red-tape national-security rationale is most available.
Seems like reasonable means to a good end though, in cases like this.

Ebola (4, Funny)

funkify (749441) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376744)

There once was a man from Angola
Who contracted a case of Ebola.
He puked out his guts,
Not excluding his nuts,
Then died as he cried out, "Ricola!"

Let me guess.... (1)

Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376750)

This was all discovered in the nick of time by a disillusioned older scientist and his female research partner with whom he shares a past with, despite the interference of a gung ho General who was in favour of the scorched earth policy?

Obligatory Futurama quote (1)

jewishbaconzombies (1861376) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376874)

Professor: As a man enters his 18th decade, he thinks back on the mistakes he made in life.
Amy: Like the heaps of the dead monkeys?
Professor: Science can not move forward without heaps!

(plus oNe In7ormative) (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33376916)

the wind appeared working on various to7d reporters,

Whoa, man. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33376986)

Why do you keep fighting Mother Nature, dude?

"Antisense" (1)

ascari (1400977) | more than 3 years ago | (#33377076)

Antisense? Makes no sense at all...

Re:"Antisense" (1)

kid_wonder (21480) | more than 3 years ago | (#33377426)

I remember this "antisense" stuff from probably 15 years ago. It was the hot pharma back then and there were probably 5-10 companies that went public over the hype of this new drug "technology".

I was actually a little shocked that someone had got it to work. From what I recall it is a targeted drug based on DNA of the target. It sounded very promising, but for some reason it never actually worked all that well. I think it was because you had to shove so much of the drug in that the side effects were pretty bad.

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